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Banned Book Review: Flowers for Algernon

January 6, 2006

47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Reason: filthy and immoral

For those who remember reading the novella in high school, you should know that there is more to the world of Algernon than a few letters.  The ban refers to the longer version of Flowers for Algernon, which goes into greater detail of Charlie’s life.  Charlie is a mentally challenged man who becomes the subject of an experiment designed to turn him into a genius.  Charlie’s rapid raise to the heights of human consciousness and rapid decline back to the mentally challenged man he used to be is a tragic tale.  As Charlie begins to recognize his failing intelligence, he copes through sex, alcohol, and violence.  Woven into the diary entries about the present is the story of Charlie’s past and how cruel both his family and “friends” were to him as he made his way in the world.  There are lessons on tolerance here, along with a gentle reminder that even people who aren’t as smart as the rest of world still have feelings and deserve to be treated well.

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